Thursday, April 06, 2006
Love and Other Impossible Pursuits by Ayelet Waldman
I have to be honest. I only bought this book for two reasons: 1. The main character's name is Emilia and 2. I really liked the cover.
Here is a brief summary of the plot from the book jacket:
For Emilia Greenleaf, life is by turns a comedy of errors and an emotional minefield. Yes, she’s a Harvard Law grad who married her soul mate. Yes, they live in elegant comfort on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. But with her one-and-only, Jack, came a stepson—a know-it-all preschooler named William who has become her number one responsibility every Wednesday afternoon. With William, Emilia encounters a number of impossible pursuits—such as the pursuit of cab drivers who speed away when they see William’s industrial-strength car seat and the pursuit of lactose-free, strawberry-flavored, patisserie-quality cupcakes, despite the fact that William’s allergy is a figment of his over-protective mother’s imagination.As much as Emilia wants to find common ground with William, she becomes completely preoccupied when she loses her newborn daughter. After this, the sight of any child brings her to tears, and Wednesdays with William are almost impossible. When his unceasing questions turn to the baby’s death, Emilia is at a total loss. Doesn’t anyone understand that self-pity is a full-time job? Ironically, it is only through her blundering attempts to bond with William that she finally heals herself and learns what family really means.
At times, you want to strangle Emilia because she is so caught up in self-pity; I also did not like her reasons for being "the other woman". Only towards the end do we learn what makes Emilia behave the way she does.
I enjoyed this book. It did not provide the fairy-tale ending that one would expect. Instead, Ms. Waldman delivers frank insight into relationships and a woman coming to terms with her expectations from life.